A general overview of the first step you should take to change your life to be more natural.
The first, and most essential step you can take to begin to correct your health is to obtain proper nutrition.
It’s important to know your options. You should know the differences between conventional, certified organic, non-GMO, and natural food labels.
- Conventional food will not be labeled in any way, these items can have an endless amount of chemicals added to them with no additional labeling required. Some of the chemicals include, but are not limited to:
- pesticides (click here to see the exact pesticides on specific foods you eat),
- antibiotics (disrupts gut flora, mutates naturally present bacteria into unhealthy bacteria),
- growth hormones,
- food coloring (nearly all colorants that are approved for food use are derived from coal tar, they also may contain up to 10ppm of lead and arsenic), and
- monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- If all that isn’t bad enough, this food is usually genetically modified.
“I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.” Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board
- If something is certified organic, that means that 95% or more of the ingredients are free of synthetic additives like pesticides, growth hormones, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the USDA. The remaining 5% of ingredients may only be foods or additives from an approved list.
- A non-gmo label ensures that the food item does not contain any genetically modified organisms. Read here about the dangers of GMOs.
- Foods labeled natural unfortunately don’t mean much, if anything. According to the USDA definition, to be labeled natural, the food cannot contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, they allow this food to contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other harmful chemicals.
- Then there is another option, the “unofficially labeled” organic foods. These are items that are made or growth from unaltered, wholesome seeds/animals and haven’t been administered chemicals of any kind. It is very difficult to jump through all the hoops to put an official “USDA Approved” stamp on your food. If you ask around, you’ll find many farmers that are actually organic farmers but aren’t allowed the title or label. If I could get my food from anywhere, it’s from this group, honest chemical free farmers.
It is important to avoid processed foods as much as possible. These items can contain any number of unnecessary added ingredients along with questionable processing practices. For example, some packaged conventional ground beef contains ammonia because it was used during processing to kill harmful bacteria (along with any good bacteria, enzymes, etc.), HOWEVER, you will not find ammonia on the ingredients list because they didn’t add it into the food as an ingredient, it was merely a part of the processing, a loophole if you will. ABC News has an article on the matter, please read it here.
-To ensure you are getting the best quality meat, only purchase items directly from a butcher or, of course, any meats you have acquired outside of a corporation. I’d stay far away from any pre-packaged meats.
Fat is NOT bad for you. Fat is important and essential to your health. But you want healthy fats such as avocados, animal fat, coconut oil, olive oil, fish, nuts, and seeds. Consuming healthy fats will provide you with energy, as well as high quality nutrition.
Calories are also NOT bad for you. How can you expect to have any energy without feeding yourself well? Calories enable more activity without feeling sick or weak. It’s important to have a well rounded diet filled with many types of foods including proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, etc. You can find great calories in many different places. You never want to go on any kind of fad diet that requires you cut out essential nutrients. Any lack of nutrients will affect your whole body in ways that may surprise you. Feeling weak and tired, headaches, irritability, and so many other symptoms can be caused from a nutritionally deficient (hungry) body. My favorite foods to turn to for quick energy boosting calories are homemade energy bars (made with old fashioned rolled oats), dates (414 calories per 1 cup), and sunflower seeds (818 calories per 1 cup).
Avoid pasteurized foods as much as possible. Food is generally in it’s most nutritious state when it is raw. The purpose of pasteurizing food is to kill harmful bacteria-this ensures you don’t get sick-and to increase shelf life of the product.
The Purpose of Pasteurization. To increase milk safety for the consumer by destroying disease causing microorganisms (pathogens) that may be present in milk. To increase keeping the quality of milk products by destroying spoilage microorganisms and enzymes that contribute to the reduced quality and shelf life of milk. –www.milkfacts.info
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to only kill the bad bacteria and not the good bacteria too in this process. After you’ve pasteurized your food, you have killed all good bacteria, along with any enzymes (which are essential in digestion). The food has now lost a huge amount of nutrition and in my opinion, isn’t worth eating. Common foods that are pasteurized are butter, milk, and even juice.
Raw foods, such as milk, are controversial. People will claim that it is dangerous because you can become extremely ill from consuming raw foods. This is only true if the foods are not handled appropriately or if they are coming from producers with unhealthy practices. Make sure to source your food and seek farmers that don’t use harmful chemicals and have healthy clean animals.
Obtaining proper nutrition is basic, you need pure whole food.
- Seek organic, chemical free produce, diary, meat, grains, nuts, and seeds.
- Don’t be afraid of foods that contain fats and high calories.
- RAW foods are your friend! Beneficial bacteria is VERY important, your gut will thank you!